Love & Marriage

After I left the house, I just kept driving. Thinking. Wondering what I was doing that was causing my life to fall apart, over, and over….

I remember watching the towers fall on September 11, 2001.  I had just gotten a job at the Medical School in June, and was waiting in line for a hot breakfast down at the cafeteria.  They had a small television and the cooks, the customers – everyone – was frozen in their spot watching it.  It was surreal.  I felt like I was gliding through the crowd on roller skates, you know, in the movies that have those dream sequences…it took a few minutes to understand what everyone was looking at.  I missed a lot of it… 

That’s just how big the bubble was that I was living in.  Floating through life in a bubble, not seeing, or caring rather, about the connections that were being made all around me.

It’s the state I was in when I met Pete.

My husband, Ben and I, were still married.  The year prior we decided we’d had enough, but were both too broke to afford it.  I used to tell people that we’d been together since 1989 (while pregnant with my son) – which is true, but with about a four year break in between.  He was a wonderful father, present for my son’s birth, and absolutely doted on our daughter.  I cared for him deeply, but I needed to be honest with myself…  I didn’t love him.  Indeed, I had wasted the past 12 years being in love with my son’s father.  But you know, life happens, and he married someone else.  I needed to let Ben go, so he could find someone that loved him back.  He deserved that much.

My life was pretty much in shambles after returning from California, and once I had found a job, I thought it might be fun to try online dating. – because that’s the answer when you’re separated, broke, and missing your son because he’s living 2000 miles away, with the man you’re still in love with.  Pete was the only ad that I answered, and it was because he was taking improv classes that we kept dating.   We fell in love.  I told him all my secrets, and he told me about a tragic story involving his brother, and how he doesn’t talk to him anymore. 

Things progressed and we moved in together.  I started my undergrad at the U – as planned (it was free!!) and made progress on my financial situation and my divorce.  Things were looking up, I was taking care of my own shit, paying bills (including paying Pete rent – there was no free lunch with that man) and felt better about how my life was going compared to the year prior.  Things were going great, until he started acting a little strangely, and I started asking questions.  I picked up his phone one day as someone was calling and there was a hangup.  I asked who it was, and he said it was a friend that lived close by.  They hang out sometimes.  I thought it would be fun to meet him, but he didn’t want to invite him over.  Weird.  One night we were sitting on the porch (Pete still smoked back then), and someone drove by and slowed in front of the house, blasting “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel.  Pete smiled to himself and kept smoking. 

Threw him a party for his 35th birthday and finally got to meet a lot of his friends.  I couldn’t help but notice how adoringly he looked at his best friend Dave.  I didn’t remember him ever looking at me like that.

In fact, when looking back, our relationship was riding on my high self-esteem.  There weren’t any “you’re beautifuls” or “you’re so good at that.” 

I got more anxious the further into the relationship I got, to the point where I ended up flat on my back having an anxiety attack in the living room.  All of my complaints were brushed off, with some explanation – and when I really hit a nerve, he claimed that I was crazy.  And that my childhood made me not trust others, so I should go seek counseling.  Well we did, together, right before getting married.  The counselor wanted to only talk about my childhood and put me on meds.  What?  This was about the relationship, can’t we begin there?  I had 10 years of therapy under my belt already.  This was pretty clear cut in my mind.


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